Thursday, January 06, 2005

On January 6, 1850...
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:

On the Catholic Church
1. INTROD.—Today the birthday of the Catholic Church, for the Gentiles came to it.

2. From eternity in the councils of God. At length in time it began to be; it was conceived and lay in the womb. Its vital principle faith, therefore with Abraham especially it began. It remained in the womb of former dispensations its due time; long expectations; burstings of hope, till the time came; and was born when Christ came.

3. In the fulness and consummation of time. OBJECTION.—Why so late? True answer, because unmerited. God may choose His time and place. Again, because He had to work through human wills, and therefore, so to say, under the present order could not choose His time. But here I say fulness and consummation of time, i.e. man is born after months in the womb. He is born in due time, not an abortion. So of the church.

4. When born, a robust and perfect offspring, fulfilling its promise—its promise that it was to be everywhere, and was to be able to be everywhere.

5. Able to be, for this is the difficulty which no other religion ever attempted. None but the Catholic has been able to be everywhere. Local religions—whether Eastern mythologies or Protestantism.

6. But even earthly empires do not spread over the world so widely as this and so diversely—now from east to west, now from north to south. Mahomet by the sword.

7. But even empires of this world gained by the sword do not last. Not only is this a single religious empire, but it has lasted out earthly empires, and now shows as little decay as ever.

8. And in such tumults—the whole world broken up so many times—present revolutions nothing to former. The deluge; describe waters—whirlpools, waterspouts, currents, rush of waters, cataracts, waves, yet the ark on them. This, the ark, the greatest of miracles. Well, it is but the acknowledged type of the Church: as this was the miracle (as we all confess) of the deluge, such that morally of the Church.

9. A house not divided against itself does stand—other religions specimens of the reverse. House at this moment less divided than ever. Protestants have looked: they felt the question was, whether we were in extremities? not whether the Pope was alive, but whether nations acknowledged him? (1) No jealousy about Pope's power. Pope never so powerful as now—perfectly good understanding; jealousy at an end. (2) No heresies now. (3) Nay, schools at an end, [e.g.] Immaculate Conception


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